Therapy Type: Other
Target Type: Other
Condition(s): Alzheimer's Disease
U.S. FDA Status: Alzheimer's Disease (Discontinued)
Approved for: Hormone Replacement Therapy
There are a number of biological mechanisms through which estrogens might exert neuroprotective effects. These include the promotion of cholinergic activity (Gibbs, 2010), increase in the morphological complexity of neurons associated with learning and memory (Brinton et al., 2000), protection from toxic insult (Brinton et al., 2000), stimulation of neuron formation (Tanapat et al., 1999), and reduction of the formation of β amyloid (Pike et al., 2009).
Estrogen is a steroid hormone important in the development and maintenance of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. In addition, in vitro experiments have demonstrated that estrogen can protect cultured neurons from β amyloid-related toxicity (Behl et al., 1995; Goodman et al., 1996; Mook-Jung et al., 1997), as well as oxidative stress-related damage (e.g., Behl, 2002). Animal models based on these mechanisms also support potential benefits of estrogen in the CNS. Estrogen is capable of decreasing amyloid accumulation and improving memory performance in ovariectomized rats (Carroll et al., 2007; Shang et al., 2010), and has been shown to enhance long-term potentiation in the hippocampus in these rats (Foy et al., 1999).
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